I have a few more images of the finds of Leonard Woolley at Ur from the British Museum. I thought I would include them in this post. Although the exact belief systems and practices behind the royal burials at Ur are not yet known to us, what is apparent is the high level of technical and artistic sophistication that produced the artifacts that they contain. The array of raw materials from which the objects are made all had to be imported into the resource-poor Mesopotamian floodplain, and their variety attests to the far-flung trading network of which Ur was a part. These materials include gold that must have come from Afghanistan, Iran, Anatolia, Egypt, or Nubia, and etched carnelian beads from the Indus Valley, as well as many stones that perhaps made their way primarily from eastern Iran. With few exceptions, however, these imported materials were worked into final form in southern Mesopotamia by craftsmen who created some of the most spectacular works of art preserved from ancient Sumer. All of these pieces are between 2500-2000 BC.
I recently visited the British Museum and found some beautiful pieces and the history accompanying them that I found very interesting. I am also providing a bit of background regarding the location of the tomb in which these artifacts were discovered. Pu-abi (Akkadian: “Word of my father”), also called Shubad due to a misinterpretation by Sir Charles Leonard Woolley, was an important person in the Sumerian city of Ur, during the First Dynasty of Ur (ca. 2600 BCE). Commonly labeled as a “queen”, her status is somewhat in dispute. Several cylinder seals in her tomb identify her by the title “nin” or “eresh”, a Sumerian word which can denote a queen or a priestess. The fact that Pu-abi, herself a Semitic Akkadian, was an important figure among Sumerians, indicates a high degree of cultural exchange and influence between the ancient Sumerians and their Semitic neighbors.